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Creative Process – From the Minds of Fluid’s Creative Team

2 Jul, 2015 McKell Naegle

Creative Process – From the Minds of Fluid’s Creatives


For the month of July, we’re going to get creative. We’re going to focus on everything creative about advertising, giving you creative insights into our designers, copywriters, and even our programmers! Check in throughout the month for new blog posts with great creative insights and ideas.


Here at Fluid, we are all about being creative. Sharing ideas and developing great new ones is very important to us. We have a wonderful team of designers, all with great ideas and perspectives that makes them unique. We wanted to give our readers a behind-the-scenes look at each of their creative processes, how they work, and how they come up with great ideas.


Frank Imler, Designer


My own personal creative process, I’ve found, has to be a daily routine. I have daily habits that wake up my brain so it knows that it’s time to be creative now. Some of these include exercise, daily meditation, plenty of sleep, and a challenging project. The exercise and plenty of sleep part comes and goes (look at me) but I’m a stickler for daily meditation. I don’t do yoga or sit criss-cross applesauce and chant, but I do take the time to read and to draw something. During that time I also like to check out Behance, Pinterest, Dribbble, or other sites like it to see what’s out there and get inspired. Drawing is huge because it helps me to close off the left side of my brain and gets me thinking in the right.


I also think its really important to plan out the day to do creative work in the morning when I have the most energy and am thinking the best. The afternoon when I’m tired is spent for reactive work like production, timesheet, and responding to emails. Brainstorming time is best in the mornings. It’s best done with a friend and away from the office. I like to bounce ideas back and forth and do it in a place that is unfamiliar so my brain thinks differently about ideas rather than sticking with the safe and familiar options.


Marianne Neff, Designer


Whenever I tackle a creative project, the first step that helps get creative juices flowing is a quality brainstorm session. This can include making word association lists, discussing with another creative, creating simple sketches of ideas or concepts, doing creative research on the web, and even just taking a moment to ponder and critically think about the design problem.

After I have emerged with ideas, I then go through and pick out the best, most exciting ideas to pursue. This is where initial creation starts and if there is time I usually like to do this by hand before I ever touch a computer. For example, when designing a logo, I like to start drawing out shapes or motifs or play with letters to see if I can discover something interesting as I draw.

From then on, it is a constant refining process to the end goal. Once I feel like the idea is taking the shape and form I am aiming for, I like to show it to others get their opinions and feedback. Critiquing is a vital part of the creative process because sometimes an idea that makes perfect sense in my head, will not even register to someone else. This part of the process helps take my design in a direction that I may not have found if I am the only one who ever sees it.

A problem that all creatives struggle with is when to call something complete as we tend to slightly tweak and change to the bitter end constantly striving for that perfected piece. But it is that perfectionistic quality that separates a quality designer from an average one as we go through the creative process day in and day out!


Matt Nieuwland, Designer


In the first meeting with the client I’m looking for answers to a few questions:


  • Who are they, what do they do and why/how do they do it better than others?
  • Depending on the type of project, what is the problem we’re trying to solve?
  • How can we measure success?
  • Who is the audience we’re talking to?


With answers in hand, the next step of my creative process is taking those answers and finding a way to express them in a “story.” Almost all effective communication, in my opinion, happens within the framework of a story. For example, you could say Company A has makes a product with better manufacturing processes than their competitors. Or you could say that Company A, through generations or practice in their family business, has perfected a better process/product in order to keep Grandpa’s original dream alive. The story sticks in a person’s memory much better.


My job then really comes into play. I have to find a way to express that story in a visual manner. That could mean the colors I choose, the typefaces used, the layout, white space, hierarchy, etc. Every single design element can speak to the story. It starts with research looking for objects, websites, books, magazines—almost anything—that conveys a similar feeling to me. I then take some time to digest what details in the examples I find specifically convey the feeling I’m looking for—this type, treated in this way with this color feels vintage, for example. With that I build a “library” of visual elements that I can use on the project. From that point I’m ready to work on layout and bringing everything together. Most viewers won’t notice the subtle details that I’m thinking about, but, when done right, the feeling of the story should rise to the surface and can be felt subconsciously which ads authenticity and or trust to the client/project.


Spencer Loveless, Designer


1- Understand: I like to keep in mind who I am working for and it is not so much the client rather it is the clients consumer and target market.


2- Research: During this step I need to know a few details about the business as a whole and learn as much as I can about their products, service, competition, brand values, big idea, etc.


3- Establishing an emotion: This phase is critical for the ones that follow. Everything is founded on what is discovered here. This is done by the gathering of visuals to create a “mood board” of shorts and coming up with a clear understanding of direction.


4- Exploring: Original thought and everything taught from design school are put to use by coming up with comps and options based from the previous steps.


5- Collaboration: Bring together all design and conceptual forces in the office to review comps and options. Gather feedback and refine.


6- Present: Here at what ishopefully the final stage, present the options with little back story, let the work speak for itself, review the features and function and original problem and solution.


Ryan Kunz, Copywriter


There are few things in life as fickle and unpredictable as a creative spark. Sometimes the magic happens quickly and something sorta like brilliance pops into being like light from primordial darkness. You sit there contentedly at your computer, basking in your own genius. Other times the creative juices just refuse to flow, leaving you banging your head on the wall in the dim hope that it might dislodge some of the hidden ideas wedged somewhere in the dark recesses of your mind. That’s when you suddenly become aware that you’re a no-talent hack and start to fear for your job security. In the latter cases, the only thing you can do is take a break, try to gain a fresh perspective, and keep trying until the ideas come. They will come.



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